Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
. 2013 Dec;6(4):159-84.
doi: 10.2478/intox-2013-0026.

Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Review

Glyphosate, Pathways to Modern Diseases II: Celiac Sprue and Gluten Intolerance

Anthony Samsel et al. Interdiscip Toxicol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Celiac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance, is a growing problem worldwide, but especially in North America and Europe, where an estimated 5% of the population now suffers from it. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes, macrocytic anemia and depression. It is a multifactorial disease associated with numerous nutritional deficiencies as well as reproductive issues and increased risk to thyroid disease, kidney failure and cancer. Here, we propose that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, Roundup(®), is the most important causal factor in this epidemic. Fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive problems that are reminiscent of celiac disease. Celiac disease is associated with imbalances in gut bacteria that can be fully explained by the known effects of glyphosate on gut bacteria. Characteristics of celiac disease point to impairment in many cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are involved with detoxifying environmental toxins, activating vitamin D3, catabolizing vitamin A, and maintaining bile acid production and sulfate supplies to the gut. Glyphosate is known to inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes. Deficiencies in iron, cobalt, molybdenum, copper and other rare metals associated with celiac disease can be attributed to glyphosate's strong ability to chelate these elements. Deficiencies in tryptophan, tyrosine, methionine and selenomethionine associated with celiac disease match glyphosate's known depletion of these amino acids. Celiac disease patients have an increased risk to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which has also been implicated in glyphosate exposure. Reproductive issues associated with celiac disease, such as infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects, can also be explained by glyphosate. Glyphosate residues in wheat and other crops are likely increasing recently due to the growing practice of crop desiccation just prior to the harvest. We argue that the practice of "ripening" sugar cane with glyphosate may explain the recent surge in kidney failure among agricultural workers in Central America. We conclude with a plea to governments to reconsider policies regarding the safety of glyphosate residues in foods.

Keywords: celiac disease; cytochrome P450; deficiency; food; gluten; glyphosate.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Hospital discharge diagnosis (any) of celiac disease ICD-9 579 and glyphosate applications to wheat (R=0.9759, p≤1.862e-06). Sources: USDA:NASS; CDC. (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Deaths due to intestinal infections ICD A04, A09; 008, 009 with glyphosate applications to wheat (R=0.9834, p≤3.975e-09). Sources: USDA:NASS; CDC. (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Thyroid cancer incidence rate plotted against glyphosate applied to U.S. corn & soy crops (R=0.988, p≤7.612e-09) along with % GE corn & soy crops (R=0.9377, p≤2.152e-05). Sources: USDA:NASS; SEER. (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson).
Figure 4
Figure 4
Number of hospitalizations for acute kidney injury plotted against glyphosate applied to com & soy (in 1000 tons). (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson).
Figure 5
Figure 5
End stage renal disease deaths (ICD N18.0 & 585.6) plotted against % GE corn & soy planted (R=0.9585, p<4.03e-6) and glyphosate applied to corn & soy (R=0.9844, p≤3.704e-09). Sources: USDA:NASS; CDC. (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson).
Figure 6
Figure 6
Deaths from Parkinson's disease (ICD G20 & 332.0) plotted against glyphosate use on corn & soy (R=0.9006, p≤5.063e-07) and % GE corn & soy planted (R=0.9676, p≤2.714e-06). Sources: USDA:NASS; CDC. (Figure courtesy of Nancy Swanson).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 22 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Agúndez JA, García-Martín E, Martínez C. Genetically based impairment in CYP2C8- and CYP2C9-dependent NSAID metabolism as a risk factor for gastrointestinal bleeding: Is a combination of pharmacogenomics and metabolomics required to improve personalized medicine? Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2009;5(6):607–620. - PubMed
    1. Ali A, Fletcher R. A. Phytotoxic action of glyphosate and amitrole on corn seedlings. Can J Bot. 1977;56:2196–2202.
    1. Allen RH, Stabler SP, Savage DG, Lindenbaum J. Metabolic abnormalities in cobalamin (vitamin B12) and folate deficiency. FASEB J. 1993;7:1344–1353. - PubMed
    1. Ames BN, Shigenaga MK, Hagen TM. Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993;90:7915–22. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Baizabal-Carvallo JF, Jankovic J. Movement disorders in autoimmune diseases. Mov Disord. 2012;27(8):935–46. - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback